~~~ delicious, malicious, and not at all nutritious ~~~

The Printed Blog

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Comic Con? More like Camel Toe Con

I recently took two of my favorite guilty pleasures to a whole new level of dedication: I attended two separate conventions. At a convention center over an hour away. Yeah, that dedicated. Specifically, Anaheim's Comic Con and Kush Expo, as both a comic/cartoon enthusiast and "casual" smoker. While stumbling around said cavernous convention center on both occasions, I began to notice how many attendees were indulging in our shared guilty pleasures as well as several others simultaneously. Though the conventions were mostly held indoors (the exception being the outdoor smoking section for medicinal marijuana patients at the Kush Expo), it was very much a festival-style free-for-all in regards to the amount of merrymaking via moderately priced booze, hook up attempts, and of course, female nudity.

"Do these leaves make my nipples look fat?"

Nuts to those scientists who said humans can't multitask: perhaps they didn't think to study unproductive behaviors along with productive ones. I could serve as a case study, as I had no trouble busying myself with my own guilty pleasures simultaneously at both conventions. And what are those you might ask? What else but consuming useless sundries and judging people? And in both respects, I was a happy hedonist in heathen heaven. The Comic Con girls were wild, but I kind of expected that (see: Wonder Woman). But the Kush Expo vendors' girls put them to shame, exposing more than Rihanna would feel comfortable wearing onstage or on the cover of Rolling Stone. It was at once magnificent and at times grotesque, like Halloween on Jersey Shore. Creativity abounded, but not always in the right ways or on the right people. Wigs and platforms approached Gaga heights, and I saw several girls wearing what could only be termed "ass chains": an assortment of chains beginning at the top of one's thong and attached to seemingly random other body parts and clothing. Ass chains are the Edible Arrangements of the fashion world: no one can believe they exist, and yet people keep buying them.

"I've got nothing to wear....hang on, the ass chains!"

After while, cracking wise at all of the attempted covert wedgie picks and near-fatal stiletto spills started to get old. I begged my boyfriend to let me take a picture of his face sandwiched between two pairs of barely-bikinied expo breasts, but he politely declined. I thought about having him take one of me, but struggled over what face I would make. Proper smile? Boring. Saucy wink? No, they'd expect that. Glamour shot-style folded hand to chin pose? Hmmm...maybe if I had brought my reading glasses, retainers, and worn some shorteralls complete with ass chains to make it extra sexy. I guess there's always next year! 

Does this even need a caption?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

My Side Effects' Side Effects

I was leisurely creeping around on Facebook this afternoon when I saw an ad that made me laugh guiltily at its shockingly sly and frightening message:

Did you take X birth control pill? Have you experienced gallbladder removal, a pulmonary embolism, blood clots, deep vein thrombosis, or stroke?

The idea that a pill that you're supposed to take every day could cause such harmful side effects make you wonder why so many women took it at all. Seeing such an outrageous list of possible effects in print reminded me of another prescription product whose side effects don't seem quite worth the risk. The product I'm thinking of is an eyelash-enhancing solution for "inadequate or not enough lashes" which sounds more like a problem for Maybelline than a biological deficiency worth prescription medication.

This particularly ridiculous ad features a gorgeous actress complaining about her sub-par eyelashes, using the solution for 16 weeks and supposedly seeing marked improvement worth all of the risks of using the product (see commercial below). In addition to the ubiquitous 'Results May Vary' disclaimer, the company spells out a number of other side effects that make inadequate lashes seem like the last of your worries. Instead of having short, stubby lashes, you may grow movie star quality eyelashes while also experiencing the following:

                  -Eye redness and/or itchy eyes
                  -Increased pigmentation of the iris (which may be reversible)
                  -Increased pigmentation of the eyelid (which may be reversible)
                  -Increased hair growth in other areas the solution has touched

I love that phrase 'may be reversible'; it's ever so hopeful. Do you think that they offer some sort of accompanying ointment for these effects, or would that be too obvious? Of course, the company has earned an invaluable thumbs up from the FDA, and their website claims to have sold over 1.5 million bottles. That must mean that they're doing something right. Right?

By the way, this is the same company that hocks BOTOX ® Cosmetic and boasts 'the world's most elegant breast implants' (however odd a slogan that may be). I wonder if you can get a discount on all three services? Do they offer a fantastic plastic discount? Triple bonus points if you pay with a credit card? All joking aside, my point is this: if the side effects of the treatment are disproportionately worse than the original issue, don't use that method or product. It may seem unfair that these products are easily accessible on the market, but it's up to us as consumers to do the necessary research before putting a product in or on our bodies. It sound may sound simple, but tell that to the people out there with permanently discolored irises and eyelids that are wondering where they went wrong...

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Why Apple Should Rule the World

 This morning, I got up extra-early (for a Saturday anyway) to make the trek to the Apple store to speak to someone about a few glitches I was experiencing with my iPhone 3G. For the last few weeks, I had been unable to end phone calls because it would freeze mid-call, refusing to respond when I hit the end button. As you can imagine, this was especially annoying if the person I was calling didn't pick up, in which case I would either have to leave a ridiculously long message worth of static and other ambient purse noises or turn the phone off and on. Every time. Then, the speed dial window started freezing up, so I would have to scroll through my entire address book every time I wanted to make a phone call. Sure, these seem like minor annoyances, but I decided to give Apple a try to see if there was anything they could do. After all, I was able to prove that my phone was malfunctioning on its own accord; its behavior was in no way related to how I had treated it. So I headed to the Glendale Galleria and decided to stop at H&M before dealing with the crowd at Apple.

 While I was standing in line to pay, I decided to finish up some emails I had neglected earlier this morning. When it was my turn at the register, I went to put my phone back in my purse and fumbled with the armful of delightful finds I was attempting to purchase, dropping the phone in the process. It seemed to fall in slow motion, and I heard a very loud crunch as it hit the ground face down. There was a collective gasp from the line behind me, and when I picked it up a few glass shards crumbled onto my fingers.
A massive spider web of cracks began on the left side and continued over more than half of the screen, and scrolling was dangerous at best. Never mind the irritation of trying to read between the cracks, but what about the possibility of glass getting into my ear? No bueno. But how was I going to explain this to Apple? Would they believe that the incident had occurred that morning and was in no way related to the internal glitches on the phone? I decided to find out: after all, I would need a new phone regardless, and I thought there might even be a chance that they would let me upgrade ahead of schedule.

I walked into the already- bustling Apple store, and I was immediately intimidated. There were so many people, all of them demanding intimate attention from the few sales clerks in royal blue tee shirts. My spirits were a little , and I thought of myself as just another bee swarming around a limited supply of sweet technological honey. But wait! Suddenly, one of the clerks caught my dazed expression and asked if he could help me. I explained what had happened, and he actually seemed to believe me! He even helped me set up an appointment at the Genius Bar, which is Apple's version of Geek Squad. Hmm, I thought. An appointment, how very civilized! I strolled around the store for 15 minutes while waiting for my scheduled time, and I couldn't help but notice the diversity of the staff there. I had been picturing Scandinavian-esque people wearing silver jumpsuits and zipping around on Segways, doling out technology to the highest bidders.
But that was not the case: not only were there numerous bilingual staff members, but a few even had neon pink and red hair, and at least half had visible (if not very visible) tattoos. I started to relax, feeling a lot more at home with a lot of different types of people rather than the uppity Apple staff snobs I had envisioned.
When it was time for my appointment, they called my name and I stepped up to the bar. A sweet and knowledgeable gentleman greeted me warmly, politely listening to my iPhone saga as he entered my information into his Macbook. He told me that usually Apple did not replace phones for free when so they had been as thoroughly damaged, but that they would do it this one time because the glitch was occurring before I dropped it. I tried to finagle an upgrade out of the deal instead, but he said that they couldn't do that. I walked away with a brand new 3G without having to fill out any paperwork, and all I had to do was plug it into my computer to restore its memory. Of course, it would have been nice to upgrade to the iPhone 4, but I have to respect them for not giving in. I mean, I was practically throwing $200 at them to upgrade, and they respectfully declined. We're so used to expecting (if not outright demanding) instant gratification, it feels nice to actually have to wait for something. I know I'll appreciate the iPhone 4 once I've paid my dues with the 3G, which after all is one powerful little machine. And I know I'll continue to appreciate Apple, its unrivaled customer service, and of course: the value of a proper iPhone case.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A Meathead's Guide to Vegetarianism

As a former omnivore, I don't miss accidentally drinking spoiled milk or sniffing meat to test its freshness. But I do miss the actual taste of meat, the ritual of sharing the same foods as everyone else at the table, and most importantly, holiday dishes. Yet I'm committed to avoiding meat, and after a brief stint eating fish I have realized that the only animal products I can consistently enjoy are eggs, cheese, and the occasional half & half in my coffee. I have many friends and family members who have tried to go veg, but I know few who have actually stuck to the diet. Please consider this a brief how-to guide for the herbivore/omnivore flip floppers, and know that you are not alone in your struggle!

1. First things first: make a list of the products you can live without, the products you enjoy but aren't your dietary staples, and products that you will have a hard time giving up. Be completely honest with yourself, and don't forget to factor in all of your favorite family recipes as those are usually the most difficult to go without. Once you've got your list, start your foray into vegetarianism by cutting out those fringe foods that you don't eat very often. Then keeping moving up the ladder until you've eradicated all unwanted items from your diet. 

2. Accept the fact that fake meat and dairy products will never taste like the real thing. Let's be honest: not only are some of the products themselves repulsive, but the actual names of the substitutes are uninspiring to say the least. Consider seitan, a wheat gluten product. Wheat what? That sounds about as tasty as cream of wheat without any sugar. You can put as much emphasis on the second syllable as you want; it's still going to come out sounding like Satan. Or what about tempeh? The ubiquitous tofu? They all sound like futuristic food substitute cubes, and if they're not prepared correctly that's exactly what they are. Tofurky? Tofuckyourself. Actually, Tofurky's brand of Italian sausage is pretty good when you cut it up and serve over wild rice. I absolutely love Smart Ground: it's great in spaghetti sauce, taco salad, and breakfast burritos. Please note that meat substitutes taste much better when combined with a mixture of other ingredients.

3. If you're a die-hard milk fan but want to wean yourself off, do it slowly. Switch from fatty milk to two percent to skim before you make the jump to soy, rice, or other milk substitutes. One warning when making the switch--if you're a burgeoning chef, I would recommend against cooking with milk substitutes. Even if it's regularly flavored soy milk, your food will come out tasting faintly of vanilla. It's no bueno for scrambled eggs in particular: vanilla- flavored eggs are about as good a combination as orange juice and toothpaste.

4. Accept the fact that you're going to fall off the wagon a few times before vegetarianism really sticks. I've seen so many friends try to quit cold turkey (as well as fully-cooked turkey) and they get frustrated when they can't completely eradicate meat and/or dairy products right away without a slip up or two. With tempting treats like the bacon wrapped hot dog on the rise, it can be difficult not to stray. It's okay, it happens to the best of us. One minute you're completely content to munch on some veggie chili and veggie cheese slices, the next minute you're up to your elbows in Junior Bacon Cheeseburger wrappers, a helpless victim of the after-bar run to Wendy's.  I can't tell you how many times my alcoholism got in the way of my vegetarianism.

5. Don't be afraid to try on pescetarianism before fully crossing over to the dark side. Many find fish a pleasant substitute for beef and poultry, and its availability in most restaurants and fast food menus makes it much easier to share meals with friends and family.
6. Many veggie virgins make the mistake of cutting out meat (and/or dairy) without properly supplementing their diet with appropriate protein and iron levels. I know, because that's exactly what I did when I first tried to go veg when I was 12. Beef up your non-beef diet with beans, peanut butter, nuts, and lots of spinach. I would also recommend taking either an iron or multivitamin as an extra precaution.

7. And finally, if you're truly committed, you eventually have to admit that you're a vegetarian. For most people, that is far easier said than done. Much like the 12-step program for substance abuse, the hardest part is admitting that we have a problem. In this case, our problem is with eating meat. We may think we live in a constantly evolving society, but some meat-eaters still take offense to vegetarians because they perceive us to be judgmental of their omnivorous choices. That's probably because they have met other vegetarians who have soured their opinion on the diet. Like all groups of people, vegetarians are diverse. I have met militant vegetarians and vegans who attempt to push their own all-or-nothing rules on the rest of the world, and I have met passive closet vegetarians who would sooner gnaw a calf's leg than offer their opinion or advice on the subject. Regardless of your political, social, or personal opinions on the matter, the decision is still made by you and you alone. If you are content with what you eat, why worry about anyone else? Bon appétit!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Importance of Not Dressing Like a Meth Addict: Five Simple Words

You'd be hard pressed to find a quintet of words in the English language that rival the always complicated and never humorous  "I ran into my ex". Those fateful words usually elicit the delightful Charlie-ism 'Ohhhhhhhh shit.' Of course, not all exes are created equal: they come in all shapes and sizes. There are those that you're indifferent bordering on affable to that you never see, and those that, upon remembering, conjure up a moment of puzzlement before the magic tone of recognition is struck and you think to yourself 'Ohhhhh yeah...that guy. No harm, no foul,' you shrug. 

But for those special few that still reside in your general vicinity as well as under your skin, the importance of not dressing like a meth addict is painfully clear. I'm not saying throw on your faux mink coat and strap your feet into sky-high short man soul crushers for every late night Wally World somnambulation or emergency beer run at 11:54PM. What I am saying is that the jammy jams should stay at home, lest you be caught in an awkward situation with an ex in public. I would say that on any given day, I dress like an average, reasonably put-together person. But for those four or five times a year when I look like Courtney Love on an off day, I'm almost guaranteed to run into an ex.
So far it's happened at the grocery store twice (who dresses up to go to the grocery store? This gal, now) and not even the fancy Super Target that everyone goes to to be seen; the P.O.S. Kroger chain that seems to be under perpetual renovation. I mean, come on! 
Another time, I was on my way to getting my oil changed and I thought to myself 'I should have dressed nicer, but who cares? It's just an oil change.' Au contraire. While I was in the waiting room fingering the small hole in my cotton work out pants and contemplating the cleanliness of my shirt (Did I sleep in this? Am I wearing deodorant? Today's deodorant?) one of my exes walked in. He did the classic double take followed by a quick evaluation of all available exits. I was glued to my chair, also evaluating possible escape routes before remembering that my car was being worked on. So we sat, and made occasional small talk for what seemed like an eternity until my car was ready. I tried to mask my hurry to get out of there, but it's like the knee-clutching bit on Family Guy: it just gets more awkward with time.

It's not that I feel as if I have anything to prove to these unfortunate members of my past, because that's why they are exes in the first place. But by the same token, the fact that they are exes means that there was (at the very least) a lack of communication and mutual understanding that makes any further interactions frustrating and futile. Yet we still feel compelled to maintain a neutral facade to appease the need for social order. In order to reduce the stress of these two opposing forces, I find it helpful to dress like a (reasonably) sane person so as to behave like one. Fake it til you make it, right? Besides, when you're in sudden close proximity to someone who makes you slap your forehead on numerous occasions, you at least want to have the pleasure of looking good while doing it.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Drunken Jogging: Not My Best Idea

I'm trying this repulsive habit called jogging, maybe you've heard of it?  Usually I just put on my sunglasses, turn on my iPod for the old warm-up/distraction technique, and away I go. But today, today was different. Today, I learned a few things. I don't know if it was the crisp fall air that kept my mind unusually alert, or the fact that I couldn't find my headphones and was thus music-less, but I felt like I was hyper aware of my surroundings. I noticed a lot of things that would have gone previously unnoticed. First of all, there's hardly any wind in L.A. which is why everyone's bangs look so good all of the time.
Secondly, dusk is the perfect time to wash a car if you're a hairy old man with the same physique and wardrobe as Tobias F ünke. And no, those short shorts do not effectively hide your thunder.

And lastly, yet perhaps most importantly, I learned that drunken jogging was not my best idea. 
Okay, so I wasn't totally drunk, just drunk-en: I had had a glass and a half of leftover wine with an early dinner (Hey, it was going to go bad if I let it go one more day). When I set out on my journey, I immediately noticed the lack of control I had over my feet, which is why drunk people tend to fall down and should not be running in the first place. I barely made it around the block before slinking back around the corner, hoping no one had observed my pathetic attempt from the coffee shop's patio across the street. It was reminiscent of that Swingers montage on 30 Rock when Tina Fey's character repeatedly drunk dials a co-op board. From a treadmill. With a goblet of wine. Only I was in public. 

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Is Your Friend Dating the Social Equivalent of Lil' Kim or Eeyore the Donkey?

What do you say to a close friend who’s dating someone you’re less than fond of? You know, someone whose very presence forces your brain against the brick wall of constantly revisiting the phrase 'Are you f**king kidding me?' They might not necessarily be a bad person, just bad for your friend. At this difficult and well-traveled ethical crossroads, how do you know which path to take? Do you ignore your misgivings and soldier on, nodding your puppet head and configuring your mouth into a facsimile of a smile whenever necessary? Absolutely! After all, you might be wrong about them: maybe your first, second, and twenty-fifth impressions were just waaaay off target. Maybe it’s okay that they still live at home and pump gas for a living, unfettered by college or a real job. Maybe it’s a good thing that your friend deems it necessary to drop the confining pretext of their bothersome personality and interests in order to better suit those of their significant other. Hell, if Madonna can do it, why not us regular chumps? 
Besides,  your friend seems so happy.... but who wouldn’t be? Maintaining a relationship is a piece of cake when you mold yourself in the exact image of your significant other. It’s genius, really: how can they ever disagree with you if you’re constantly mirroring their own wants and needs? There’s no expectations or disappointment, just two people who have literally become one (or three-quarters to a whole person when pried apart from one another). Sure, you’ve lost a friend,  but you’ve actually gained another half of a friend! And at the very least, you can go to sleep at night knowing that Eeyore will no longer be lonely after clearing a room.